Frac-Harmed Pennsylvania gets “criminal investigations” into the regulatory fraud, corruption and cover-up (eg turning post-pollution water test data into “baseline”). Frac-Harmed Alberta gets oil patch led Witch Snitch & Kenney’s Kopy Kat War Room, both with boasted intent to harm those concerned with life-threatening pollution, even though AER, Alberta Environment, Alberta Research Council (now Alberta Innovates) and Alberta politicians also engaged in fraud, corruption and cover-up.

Deputy Environment Minister Bev Yee – who helped cover-up Encana’s crimes: diverting water without required permit under Water Act, illegal aquifer fracs, community-wide drinking water contamination & exploding water tower – appointed by Alberta gov’t to chair the AER in “steps to clean house.”

Oh Dirty Canada! National Energy Board (NEB), led by corporate crime cover-upper Peter Watson, changed to CER, still led by corporate crime cover-upper Peter Watson

DEP lawyers up as grand jury investigation into shale gas moves forward by Don Hopey and David Templeton, Oct 3, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The state Department of Environmental Protection has hired outside legal counsel to deal with the state attorney general’s criminal investigations of “environmental crimes” involving the shale gas industry in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The DEP confirmed Wednesday that it has retained the law firm of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti to represent it in the probe.

The department also said that three law firms have been hired to represent DEP employees.

The criminal investigation was initiated by State Attorney General Josh Shapiro at some point prior to August 2018. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in January this year that the attorney general’s office had accepted referrals from the Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone, assumed jurisdiction over “several criminal investigations” and that a state grand jury has been hearing testimony.

Elizabeth Rementer, a DEP spokeswoman, said in an email response to questions that the firms were hired “earlier this year when we became aware of the [attorney general’s] investigation.”

She said Pietragallo was hired to represent the department “both because DEP attorneys are environmental specialists, not grand jury practitioners, and in an effort to avoid any potential conflict of interest.”

In a followup email, she said the firm was hired because of its expertise in criminal, as opposed to civil, litigation.

Ms. Rementer also said hiring outside counsel permits DEP staff attorneys to focus on “environmental work,” while the additional legal hires allow the department “to be responsive to the OAG [Office of Attorney General] investigation without pulling resources from the core work of the agency.”

She declined to answer a question about how many DEP employees have asked for legal representation, except to say that the department had hired lawyers for “all who have requested it.”

Attorney General spokeswoman Karissa Hand said the office has no comment. And it has not confirmed the existence of an investigation.

But a deputy attorney general in August 2018 sent a letter to attorneys in a civil case before the Washington County Court of Common Pleas stating it had “assumed jurisdiction over several criminal investigations involving environmental crimes in Washington County,” and one of those investigations “involves your respective clients.”

In that case, Stacey Haney and her neighbors alleged their health was damaged by toxic spills, leaks and air pollutants from the Yeager shale gas well drilled by Range Resources Appalachia LLC in Amwell.

The suit also contended that the DEP faked and reported incomplete air test results that showed lower air pollution levels around the well site and nearby homes.

Range Resources and 10 other companies involved in developing the Yeager well site settled the suit in August 2018 by paying Ms. Haney and her neighbors $3 million.

The AG’s office asked the attorneys representing both sides in the case to preserve the case documents, depositions, scientific tests and physical evidence under penalty of law if they failed to do so.


Alberta govt uses commercial shredders to cover-up its crimes:

Shred Fraud? “Better Shred than Read!” Tory Cover-up Saga Continues: Document shredding rules not followed by Alberta Environment, investigation finds. “344 boxes of executive records were destroyed between May 1 and May 13,” including related to litigation, 660 boxes in total were destroyed


And by February of this year, two Washington County residents, June Chappel of Hopewell Township, and Stephanie Hallowich, a one-time vocal critic of the shale gas drilling around her then home in Mount Pleasant Township, had testified at the grand jury in Pittsburgh. At least six other Washington County residents have said they were contacted by the attorney general’s office but haven’t yet testified.

The Pietragallo law firm is headquartered in Pittsburgh, has an office in Philadelphia, and employs 48 attorneys. Among the 27 practice areas listed on its website is “Government enforcement, compliance and white-collar litigation.”

According to the website, examples of the firm’s representation include “State and Federal public officials, municipalities, and businesses in public corruption investigations,” and “all legal aspects concerning a company involved in a chemical spill into public waterways, including state and federal environmental agency review, civil suits and grand jury investigations in multiple jurisdictions.”

The law firms hired to represent DEP employees are Dilworth Paxson, with offices in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, as well as Delaware, New Jersey and New York; Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, with offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and California; and Ballard Spahr, headquartered in Philadelphia and with offices in a dozen states and the District of Columbia.

Refer also to:

Baytex Gag Order and Can You Silence a Child? Inside the Hallowich Case; Peut-on empêcher un enfant de parler? Le cas des Hallowich

The Colbert Report on Fracking Flaming tap water and the Hallowich children Gag Gift by Range Resources; Fracking Gag Orders For Kids Go Too Far

Stephen Colbert is known for his tongue-in-cheek views of controversial subjects, and a recent fracking gag order was no exception. … “Important lesson, kids: If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all,” joked the host. This type of gag order is not the first of its kind. According to Colbert, at least six such cases have been known in the U.S. “Paying for silence is catching on like tapfire,” he cracked. … Even though the comedian poked fun at the gag order throughout the segment, he ended on a serious note: “These companies are just asking for kids to lie for money,” Colbert said. “And in order to get cheap oil, I think we are all willing to lie to ourselves about fracking.”

Canadian viewers: The Word – Gag Gift by The Colbert Report, August 15, 2013

The Word – Gag Gift by The Colbert Report, August 15, 2013

Range Resources pays a Pennsylvanian family $750,000 to relocate and keep quiet about health problems they experienced near a fracking site. (04:07)

8/15/13 in :60 Secondsby The Colbert Report, August 15, 2013

Fracking turns sinks into kilns…. (01:00)

Kenney’s $30 Million McCarthyism War Room (it finances the Witch ‘n Snitch inquiry) renamed “Alberta Energy Information Centre” (AER’s 100%-industry-funded ass): PetroPimps’ Propaganda Hanky Panky Bunker to Spy ‘n Lie for CAPP ‘n Koch ‘n Encana ‘n Harper? Just the New West Partnership cont’d?

CAPP/Kenney’s McCarthyism $2.5 Million Witch Snitch of courageous concerned citizens, to help polluting, job-decimating, billion $ profit-taking, largely foreign-owned multinationals. The Inquiry lies, says not linked to Kenney’s war room even though inquiry is reportedly paid for out of war room’s budget! Inquiry Commissioner Steve Allen is industry-biased of course: Was Director of Compton Petroleum, chaired Compton’s Audit Committee (company with a greedy sordid sour history)

This entry was posted in Global Frac News. Bookmark the permalink.